TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
BY SABRINA LEE
Most ethnic minorities arrived in Northern Utah with a connection to the railroad and this was the case for Juan Vasquez and his family. Juan was a Union Pacific Railroad worker who made his way west working with them. He arrived in Utah in 1925 and remained in Clearfield for the remainder of his life, working for Union Pacific for 53 years. He was born in Santa Rosalia De Camargo Mexico in 1898, and married Trinidad Najera in Sacramento California in 1925.
In 1930, Juan and Trinidad purchased 10 acres of land in Clearfield. They were the first Mexican Americans to purchase land in Davis County, and owned the property until 1991, when Clearfield City purchased the land from their descendants. Juan worked his Union Pacific job, and his land. He grew corn, tomatoes, sugar beets, strawberries, watermelons, squash, alfalfa, and tree seedlings. He and Trinidad raised dairy cows, had chickens, pigs, goats, and sheep. They were known for keeping their land and home meticulous.
In 1926, they had a son named Jose, and soon followed a little girl, Celia, in 1928. During the Depression, Juan and Trini were known for their great generosity to others. Some families would have starved without their help. Trini was known for her delicious cooking, and they often spent weekends entertaining with large feasts, storytelling, singing and playing music.
They valued education, and both children received degrees from Weber College. Jose served in the Air Force during WWII. Juan and Trini believed so much in the value of education, they both took adult education classes in the evenings. Jose and Celia raised children in the Clearfield area, and the grandchildren were often visitors to the 10 acres.
Juan passed in 1976, and Trini in 1989. Their commitment to education left a legacy that Jose and Celia passed to their children. Their grandchildren went on to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Upon Trini’s passing in 1987, they had ten grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Leaving a legacy and deep roots here in Clearfield.